BAMBOO MUSEUM GARDEN
In the cold war period the west media often call China BAMBOO SCREEN. So,China is the homeland of bamboo on the world. And Hangzhou is the first land of bamboo in China.
This garden is at suburb of Hangzhou. They say it is the only museum on the world. You can see all kind of bamboo and great many fine arts and crafts made of bamboo from China and other countries.
Six Harmonies Pagoda
This pagoda is a bit different from other pagodas I have visited in China. It is actually quite old and looks much like it must have looked like for the last few hundred years. The pagoda was first built in 971 AD and has since been destroyed and rebuilt a few times, but the structure we see today, is actually dating back to the 12th century AD when it was rebuilt almost from scratch. After that, it fell into disrepair again, and during the 1980s and 1990s it got a face lift again. Now what you see is something that looks authentically old, as it has not been decorated the way many other pagodas have.
Legend has it that a boy called Liu He (Six Harmonies) lost his mother to the tidal waves caused by an evil Dragon King living in the river. He got so upset by this, he threw stones into the river from the hill where the pagoda is today. The Dragon King got so disturbed by this, he offered the boy gold and silver, but the boy would have none of it, and insisted on the King releasing his mother and stop pestering people with the tidal waves. This the Dragon King then did, and the pagoda was built in memory of the brave boy and the tidal waves have since not been disruptive. A more plausible explanation is that the pagoda was built to manage the tidal waves and the name refers to the Six Harmonies in Buddhism and also the six directions (heaven, earth, east, west, north and south).
To get to the top floor (indoors 7 stories, outwards 13) you catually have to climb the stairs, which are uneven and some uncomfortably small, but it is doable.
The view from the top floor is great and on clear days you can see really far, however the green fields mentioned by poets and authors of old times have since disappeared to give way to the growing city.
Admission: CNY 30 (including entering the pagoda)
"Phonsovan - "Plain of Jars""
PHONSOVAN - I traveled by airplane to the most heavily bombed area in the world, the remote Xieng Khuang Province in Laos. The views from the plane were wonderful - I had no idea that Laos is so mountainous. But, as the plane descended, it was easy to see that the province is heavily pock-marked with bomb craters left by the Americans during the Vietnam war. This area is famous for the ‘Plain of Jars’ in Phonsovan, but also because the Americans bombed virtually every town and village in the province repeatedly between 1964 and 1973.
Phonsovan is located on a high plateau and its archaeological site is littered with hundreds of ancient stone jars. It is said that the jars are well over 2,000 years old, but there is no reliable way of knowing for sure. Some people even call this the “Stone Henge” of Asia! The jars’ origins are still not conclusively known, even today. Some historians say they are made of a stone material not native to the area, yet others say there is a stone quarry nearby. Some archaeologists believe the jars were used as rice whiskey vats; others say they were used as burial urns - Who’s to say?
Anyway, it was quite fascinating to view these jars in such a dramatic setting in the north of Laos, and at the same time, realize that one step in the wrong direction, and I could be blown to smithereens! Many of the bombs never went off during the war years, and many landmines also remain in the area, so one must be very vigilant in traveling through this province, even around the Plain of Jars. There are markers everywhere, indicating which areas have been cleared of possible bombs and mines. People are still killed/injured each and every day so it is a very real threat indeed. Unfortunately it could take a lifetime before Laos is finally cleared of such a menace.